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July 30, 1976 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-07-30

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Page Six Friday, July 30, 1976
'U' Wind Quintet does admirabl

By TOM GODELL and Klughardt Wednesday eve-
ning at the School of Music Re-.
THROUGHOUT the past week, cital Hall.
the sound of wind instru- No chamber ensemble can be
ments has been emanating from as delightful as a wind quintet.
North Campus, a result of the True, the string quartet can
28th Annual National Band Con- combine intimacy with great
ductors' and Wind Percussion expression, and the piano trio
Teachers' Conference, centering cannot be matched in strength
at the School of Music. As a or clarity. Yet neither has the
part of this, the University warmth or communicative abil-
Woodwind Q u i n t e t (flautist ity of an ensemble of five wood-
Keith Bryan, oboist Arno Ma- winds. This is due, in the main,
riotti, clarinetist John Mohler, to the crisp attacks and bril-
bassoonist L. Hugh Cooper, and liant colors of the instruments.-
Harry Berv, horn) presented a Thus, when Schoenberg de-
concert of music by Vivaldi, cided to write his first major
Hovhaness, Bassett, Szalowski, work utilizing the twelve-tone
Jeffrey Selbst
An imperishable
show at the Institute
rpIAT 0Ll) perennial, The Fantasticks, favorite of the dinner
theater circuit, has been resurrected once more. The Detroit
Institute of Arts, the city of Detroit's most important cultural in-
stitution, has decided to revive its practice of producing theater
in the Kresge Court by preventing this old favorite as a dinner
theater offering.
I wonder why that should be, that The Fantasticks remains as
imperishable a work as it is. Certainly if you're looking for
romance, it's there-the two young kids, the "feuding" fathers,
everything that Rodgers and Hammerstein would need to make
garbage of an evening-and yet this piece is far from garbage.
Dinner, by the way, was lovely. Spinach salad, quiche lorraine
and chocolate mousse served with an excellent cider and coffee.
Also, the Kresge Court is a charming place to serve a meal.
The production was spotty, though on the whole reasonably
well done. El Gallo (Timothy Schoch) had a rather weak voice,
but Luisa and Matt (K. K. Harper and Edward Coulter) were
certainly good, with Harper particularly fine. The fathers (Mark
Atchisonand Peter Psalm) were comic, though inhibited, butathe
bit players, Henry and Mortimer (Paul Petruccione and Martin
McCall) were sheer deight.
THE ACOUSTICS in the Kresge Court are pathetic. On top of
that, the night I went to see it, the rain was pouring down and
making a cacaphony on the canvas roof of the courtyard, and
for a few minutes we could hear almost nothing at all. The roof,
by the way, was leaking, and rain was pouring down on the stage,
as well as just to the left of my foot. Oh, well.
All that aside, only speculation remains. The Fantasticks re-
cently concluded a 17-year run at the Sullivan St. Playhouse in
New York City, and has run at numerous thousands of community
productions, high schools, dinner theaters and the like during that
time, and it would seem, will do so for years.
It seems to me that The Fantasticks is one play that manages
to be touching without making you want to throw up. Not that this
is any mean feat, for consider the numbers of musicals that try to
touch one-from Fiddler on the Roof to Oklahoma!, they take in
and mutilate all eras and forms of music. Only The Fantasticks
gives any kind of stability to the period.
John Simon, noted film and drama critic, has said that
musicals present lies, whether modern ones, like Sondheim's
Company and Follies, or the antiquated varieties seen in anything
Rodgers and Hammerstein did. But I think there is one musical
that doesn't present lies, and it is-oh, you guessed it-The
A MISTAKE IN OBSERVATION would be to say that Luisa and
Matt's story is supposed to be anything but universal-symbolic. My
lovely escort mentioned that she couldn't see the show done with
any more elaboration than we saw at the Institute. Which is
precisely the point-the show is presented with a baby simplicity,
so that it can relate to anyone. Neither is their relationship
programmatic of relationships nor their archetype, but instead a
sort of loose description of how human relationships do work.
And yes, the show is redolent with goo, but-dare I say it?-
necessary goo, and goo for which we've been prepared by the
text. Certainly there has to be an emotion if there is to be its
opposite; to be effective, love must precede disgust, and how
better to show love than through goo. Granted, it is not really goo,
for a working definition might be "dramatically unnecessary
sweetening" or the like. And this is dramatically necessary.
The fact is, this show is a model of its kind. The later shows
put together by the talented duo of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
have been somewhat more forgettable, but this one-at least--will
stand as a monument to the great god Taste.

system, he chose the wind quin-
tet to give his mathematically-
derived music a personality.
Naturally the medium is no im-
mediate ticket to succes. The
composer must constantly keep
in mind the sound and capabili-
ties of each instrument, and
combine this with a liberal dose
of inspiration.
OPENING the concert was
Vivaldi's Concerto in G minor
for flute, oboe, and bassoon.
Although the performers chose
a brisk tempo, something was
lacking. Oh, all of the notes
were played, but they were de-
livered without emotion. This
music is jaunty and high-spir-
ited, but somehow our perform-
ers missed that. Further, bal-
ance between the booming bas-
soon and the others was sadly
lacking. While the slow move-
ment was given a more pene-
trating reading, there was ab-
solutely no sense of ensemble
in the finale.
This work was followed by
the Divertimento for oboe,
clarinet, bassoon and horn by
Alan Hovhaness. The work con-
sists of five extremely short
movements. This invites com-
parison between Hohaness and
the ultra-compact music of An-
ton Webern. However, while
Webern may say a great deal
in a mere two bars, Hovhaness
has nothing whatsoever to say.
The prelude is richly colored,

and the result is serene and
majestic. In fact, it sounds
strangely like the rest of this
composer's music. The five sec-
tions are like fragments torn
from a sketchbook, and they are
as unrelated as they are un-
The performance, though, was
very fine indeed. With the bal-
ance between the instruments
restored, a sensitive approach
was revealed. This easily suc-
ceeded in conveying the simple
emotions expressed by the com-
poser-serenity, humor, seren-
ity, and serenity.
MUSIC BY the University's
own Leslie Bassett concluded
the concert's first half. The
music was dissonant, complex,
and not terribly enjoyable. All
manner of harsh sounds issued
from the instruments, particu-
larly ton gand repeated trills,
almost as if the composer were
trying to caricature Hindemith.
And a fatal flaw-the writing
was not well suited to the me-
dium of the quintet. After a
while, it began to sound like
mere note-spinning.
Opening the second half was
a Trio for oboe, clarinet, and
bassoon, by Antoni Szalowski.
This was, without a doubt, the
high point of the evening.
Szalowski's perfectly delightful
writing for woodwinds is char-
acterized by brilliance and hu-
mor. This kork is a joy for both

performer and listener.
The opening allegro concludes
with a delightful violation of ex-
pectations-building to a final
cadence, the final chord ap-
pears one beat late. The slow
movement, a kind of waltz with
facetious wrong notes, followed,
as did the Gavotte with its bit-
ing sarcasm that may remind
the lsitener of Prokofiev's Clas-
sical Symphony. A good-natured
allegro brings the piece to its
THE FINAL work, August
Klughardt's Quintet, is most
definitely a product of the late
romantic era. The music is not
at all bad, simply written for
the wrong combination of in-
struments. As a symphony (I
found myself mentally tran-
scribing-strings here, a drum
roll there) it might have been
a success, but it is simply too
involved for a light-weight en-
semble like a wind quintet.
Indeed it was in the lighter
moments (such as the transi-
tion between the main and sub-
ordinate themes in the exposi-
tion of the opening movement
as well as the scherzo) that
were most successful.
The music was not well play-
ed. Perhaps this was due to the
complexity of the material, but
more than likely was the result
of insufficient rehearsal time.
Berv's horn was particularly
rough and overly loud.

Broo 'Silent Movie':
A pleasant diversion

THE MEL BROOKS School of Take-Offs has
increased its enrollment and this semester
has added Silent Movie to its schedule. The film
deals with three moviemakers trying to make a
comeback and save Big Pictures Studio from
being bought out by the evil Engulf and Devour
V.% ("Our fingers are in everything.")
But the onv ay that the studio can be saved
is with a hit picture and the only way Mel Funn
(Brooks) will be allowed to make his movie and
insure its success is if he gets the biggest stars
in Hollywood. And such notables as Anne Ban-
croft, Liza Minelli, Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman
and Marcel Marceau have cameo appearances.
Anyway, Funn goes through various methods
of trying to gain stars with his sidekicks, Marty
Eggs (Marty Feldman) and Dom Bell (Dom
DeLouise). They are forced to pose as Flamenco
dancers to get the attention of Bancroft at a
nightclub. They entice her into their act, and
as she gets caught up in its fervor, she cries,
"I'll do it!" meaning the movie.
TO APPROACH Burt Reynolds they must do it
in an underhanded way.(literally). Reynolds is
showering and we watch him caress his body
with soap and suddenly hands appear from below
and the trio pops up with their offer. How could
Burt possibly refuse?
The "current studio chief" (Sid Caesar) suffers
a heart attack and a memorable visit to the
hospital ensues. As they enter, they pass the
"Geriatric Lounge-No one under 75 admitted"
and its occupants are in a rhumba line, keeping
time with their walkers.
The nurse at the Intensive Care desk is read-
ing My Filthy Dreams while we see all her
patients over the monitors suffering various
catastrophes. After they get in to see Caesar,-
Eggs and Bell manage to turn his monitor into
an electronic Pong game.

Meanwhile Engulf and Devour ("Our toilets
are nicer than most people's homes") is frothing
at the mouth. No, really. There is a scene where
the chairman is barking at the board of directors
and actually does froth. You get to see it all.
They plan to buy that studio and the last resort
is sex. They employ Miss Vilma Kaplan (Berna-
dette Peters) to pretend she is in love with Funn.
Vilma first entices him at a nightclub where she
appears in a banana and as her male chorus peels
her, she sings "BaBa Loo." Funn falls for her
and several choice scenes follow-frolicking in
the park in white outfits, riding a merry-go-round
together (but this horse excretes wooden blocks
during the ride) and meaningful gazes at a
wedding cake in a bakery window.
BUT EGGS and Bell have discovered that
Vilma i sa fraud and they tell Funn who in turn
goes back to the bottle, which ruined his first
career. Meanwhile, Vilma has called Engulf and
Devour to tell them that she quits because she
really is in love with the "little lug." They go on
a frantic search for Funn, dry him out, and the
movie is made-in record time.
But the bad guys do not quit easily and they
steal the film on the night of the preview. The
trio takes off to recapture it, as Vilma entertains
the audience. They get the film before it is
burned, but are caught. A traditional chase scene
ensues and Funn and friends win by using Coke
cans as grenades. The movie is screened and
hailed a success, and now Funn and Vilma can
make everything legal.
The film is a nice d iversion for the evening,
but not as creative or clever as most of Brooks'
previous works. His genius is in his dialogue and
a silent movie makes it rather difficult to employ
quick and witty exchanges. I enjoyed the film,
and it is much better than the other parodies out
now (The Big Bus) but Brooks can do better.
Next I would like to see him try a Tarzan film.

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